Jul 2 2016 10:00am

Oh No They Didn’t…Couples That Shouldn’t Work But Do

Asking for It by Lilah Pace

After writing my post on multicultural leads, there was one book in particular that caught my attention. Compassion by Xavier Neal is the story of a homeless vet who gets caught digging through the trash of a young librarian living in an upscale neighborhood. Then I read J. Kenner’s Dirtiest Secret and Hottest Mess. Another couple that really shouldn’t work, for very different reasons, but do. Thus, I give you an incomplete list of couples that when you hear the premise, the first thing you think is…Oh No They Didn’t…Because let’s be honest. These couplings shouldn’t even try to work given the social contexts. Whether it’s because their love is taboo or the leads are complete opposites, not in a million years do we think these couples should or could work together. Yet, after reading their stories, I am their biggest fan and know they will have their HEA until death do them part.

Asking for It by Lilah Pace

The central focus between Vivienne and Jonah’s relationship begins with consensual re-enactments of rape scenes. Yet it evolves into so much more. The author delicately depicts and explores two individuals struggling through some very painful circumstances from their childhood. It’s about taking back control, learning to trust, and ultimately letting in love. To be honest, the contents in this book could be a trigger for readers who have a history of sexual assault. However, I never felt that the acts depicted between our leads were anything but consensual and safe. Hence, as a reader I felt safe. Asking For It definitely pushes boundaries but it’s done so well and is so worth the read.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Daughter of Smoke and Bone is the first in a young adult fantasy/paranormal series that unravels with such perfection and beauty, I almost wept knowing the story was coming to an end. Never fear—the series is complete and all three books are published—so get ready for a marathon reading-fest. Without giving too much away, I can tell you that Karou is an art student living in Marrakesh, Morocco. She is drawn to Akiva, a man wholly connected to her past. Akiva sets in motion a tidal wave of destruction more devastating to Karou than she could ever know. And that’s the kicker. Karou has no memory…

Dirtiest Secret/Hottest Mess by J. Kenner

Dirtiest Secret by J. Kenner

Dallas and Jane have loved each other for years. Especially since they were both held captive as teenagers. Even though they’ve had lovers over the years, their attraction and longing for each other only grows stronger. The only problem? Dallas and Jane are siblings and can never be together. Before you bring on the eww factor, keep in mind that Dallas and Jane are not blood-related and never perceived one another as siblings. Moreover, the way their relationship is handled works. Trust me. And the chemistry? It sizzles. Hottest Mess is the second of three books in the S.I.N. series and releases July 7. Our HEA won’t come until October!!

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

One of the original couples in literature that are doomed from the beginning, Rochester and Jane still somehow manage to attain their HEA. On so many levels this couple shouldn’t work. Yes, I’ll admit the whole Governess/Master of the house trope is enticing. However, he’s brooding and over the top. She’s more pious and innocent than Mother Teresa. And!! He’s married to a woman who tries to burn down the castle. Rochester is left broken-hearted and becomes disfigured. Even though all signs point to disappointment and heartache, Brontë doesn’t let us down in the end.

The Earl Takes All by Lorraine Heath

The Earl Takes All by Lorraine Heath

Everything about this premise screams No, No, just, No!  Before Lord Albert dies from a safari accident, he makes his twin brother, Edward, promise to be Albert until his wife delivers their first child. This is wrong on so many levels. Edward pretends to be his brother. Julia falls in love with Edward as Albert. Edward’s ruse is finally revealed, and the deception and grief is of immense proportions. This story should be an epic fail but Lorraine Heath is the master. You’ll have to read to discover how she weaves this HEA out of chaos.

The Never Series by Monica Murphy

Katie Watts is kidnapped, sexually assaulted, and held captive by a very sick man. By chance, the son of this monster, Will Monroe, finds and saves Katie from certain death. Years later, Will sort of cyber stalks her, “bumps” into her, and lies about his true identity. When Katie finds out that Ethan is actually Will Monroe, the son of her attacker, their relationship fizzles. Because everything is based on lies and a façade created by Will. Or is it?

Asking For It by Lilah Pace  
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor  
Dirtiest Secret by J. Kenner  
Hottest Mess by J. Kenner  
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte  
The Earl Takes All by Lorraine Heath  
Never Tear Us Apart by Monica Murphy  
Never Let You Go by Monica Murphy  
Compassion by Xavier Neal  










Tanya is a fanatic of all things romance, dabbles in Happily Ever Afters under the pen name of Lily Kay, and teaches sociology part-time. You can follow her on twitter @tamushamu, @AuthorLilyKay, or on

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1 comment
1. brontëgirl
I'd wondered if Jane and Rochester would make the list! :) Only "shouldn't work but does" couple who occurred to me. Now that I think about it, Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett are a real-life couple who could be on the list . . . and their HEA continued even if he was "Mr. Elizabeth Barrett," career-wise, for awhile . . . until a few years into his widowerhood, in fact, with the publication of The Ring and the Book, the subject matter of which she hadn't been that fond of.
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